Saturday, April 12, 2008

What Should the Media Be Covering? Redux

(via memeorandum)

This has to have Glenn Greenwald in conniptions (and rightly so). We now have the President admitting that he was fully aware of the methods of torture his top-level Cabinet members were approving. Not only that, but as Cernig points out, those meetings occured before the Yoo memos, and in fact were responsible for ordering the Yoo memos as a CYA. This is something that ought to drive any American with a conscience to cry for impeachment.

Despite this, there are at this moment exactly four other bloggers of any note discussing this story.

Meanwhile, the rest of the blogosphere is in a tizzy like I've never seen before over another story. And what story might that be? Obama said some things that were politically incorrect! GASP! A politician isn't completely in touch with the people? STOP THE PRESSES! Indeed, this gaffe is so horrible that Powerline is making the argument that it disqualifies Obama from the Presidency.

If this is all the supposedly enlightened and attuned blogosphere wants to talk about, it pretty strongly suggests that Megan McArdle's argument about the media is correct. The media cover the torture issue relatively little because the public does not really want to hear about the torture issue. The public would much rather hear about who made the latest utterly meaningless campaign gaffe.

For the record, my take on Obama's horribly overblown gaffe is this: he is correct that there are an awful lot of homophobic, racist, xenophobic gun-toting Bible thumpers in small-town America. (Of course there are plenty of gun-toters and Bible-thumpers who are not necessarily homophobic, racist, and xenophobic, as well). Where he is wrong is in thinking these attitudes are attributable to mistrust of government. Usually "one who mistrusts government" is a synonym for "libertarian." But last I checked, the only two of those traits that are really compatible with libertarianism are gun-toting and (debatably) Bible-thumping. Moreover, last I checked, Hillary "the Country Can't Afford All My Ideas" Clinton is an even bigger believer in the inherent goodness of government than Obama AND she also happens to be married to a man whose administration allegedly failed these voters by not paying enough attention to their concerns. The fact is that there are other reasons these attitudes are so common in small-town America. I've seen enough of it first-hand to know. But it has absolutely nothing to do with distrust of government.

***UPDATE*** Tas also wonders what the big deal is with this story.